City of Marion

Historic Marion Tailgate Valentine Market Scheduled for February 13-14

The Historic Marion Tailgate Valentine Market will be held on Monday, February 13 and Tuesday February 14 from 12:00 Noon until 4:00 p.m. at the Tailgate Market Shelter at 67 West Henderson Street in Marion.

The Valentine Market provides a great opportunity to do some last minute shopping for Valentine's Day.  Items being sold will include baked goods, cookies, candies, chocolates (and they will take orders too!), jewelry, knitted and stitchery items, quits and soaps. 

For more information about the Valentine Market, please call Katrina Hoyle at 659-2607.   

Happy Valentine’s Day and we will see you May 2 for the opening day of the 2017 Historic Marion Tailgate Market! 

City of Marion Accepting Applications for Small Business Community Loan Fund

Marion city leaders have formed a partnership with the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center to launch a $100,000 small business community loan fund.  The goal of the partnership is to encourage small business and entrepreneurial growth in the downtown area.

The STEP for Small Business Community Loan Fund works with individuals from Marion who have sound ideas for starting or expanding a small business.  Here are a few details about the fund:

 

  • Loan amounts range from $500 to $25,000 for small business startup or expansion

  • All loans are offered in combination with business planning and technical assistance

  • Loans will be reviewed by a local committee and serviced by the Rural Center

  • Loan funds may be used to purchase equipment, inventory, or as working capital

  • The loan fund does not compete with banks or other lenders, but rather, it is designed to serve as gap funding or complementary  financing for small businesses

The loan fund will prioritize retail, food, and service businesses in the central business district of Marion. The fund also encourages applications from low-income, female and minority borrowers.  The only way to be sure if you qualify is to apply. Basic requirements are:

 

  • You wish to start or expand a small business,

  • Your business is located in the central business district,

  • You are 18 years or older,

  • And, of course, you have to have a sound business idea.

To apply, complete and submit a pre-application to Freddie Killough at the Marion Business Association. Once received, a member of the Rural Center staff will help you through the remainder of the process.

For more information and to apply, contact Freddie Killough at (828)625-2215 or freddiek@frontier.com or Amanda Young at (919) 250-4314 or ayoung@ncruralcenter.org.

 

Marion Police Department Launching Citizen's Police Academy in March

The Marion Police Department will hold its first ever Citizen's Police Academy this March and April.  The Academy provides a great opportunity to learn about the Police Department and meet the department's officers.  Classes will be held on eight consecutive Thursday nights between March 2 and April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Police Department at 270 South Main Street.  Classes will cover the following topics:

March 2 - Welcome/Academy Focus

March 9 - Patrol Operations/Traffic Enforcement

March 16 - Investigations/Crime Stoppers

March 23 - Narcotics Investigations/Drug 101

March 30 - Special Response Team/Communications

April 6 - Defensive Driving Practical Exercise

April 13 - Firearms Demonstration/Practical Exercise

April 20 - Crime Stats/Graduation

The Police Department encourages interested people to apply to participate in the 2017 Citizen's Police Academy.  Applications are available at the Police Department at 270 South Main Street, at City Hall at 194 North Main Street or online at www.marionpd.org.

Thank you for considering participating in the Citizen's Police Academy.  For more information, please contact the Police Department at (828) 652-5205 or visit www.marionpd.org.

 

New Year's Eve Celebration Set for Saturday, December 31 on Main Street

Plans are set for the 8th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration in Downtown Marion on Saturday, December 31 from 8:30 p.m. until 12:00 Midnight.  There is no need to go out of town on New Year’s Eve as you can save time and gas and celebrate the New Year in Downtown Marion.

The New Year’s Eve Celebration is sponsored by the Marion Rotary Club with assistance from the Marion Business Association, City of Marion, McDowell County and the McDowell Arts Council.

The event has many corporate sponsors this year.  This year’s Platinum Level sponsors are the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, Crooked Door Coffee House, Mr. Bob’s Donuts and Steve Jones Sells Homes.  Gold Level sponsors are Asheville Savings Bank and the Marion Rotary Club Past Presidents.  Silver Level sponsors are Realty One and WBRM Radio.  Bronze Level sponsors are the Corpening Memorial YMCA, First Citizens Bank, Freedom Life Ministries, Key Gas Components, McDowell Health Coalition, McDowell Mission Ministries, the McDowell News, Morrow Insurance Agency, Mountain Area Community Services, SettingWithStyle.com, Spencer's Hardware and Walt Bagwell Insurance Agency.

The New Year’s Eve Celebration will begin at 8:30 p.m. at the Gazebo on North Main Street with the Resolution Run 5K.  Runners and walkers are encouraged to sign up for this unique 5K.  To sign up, you can visit www.runsignup.com, type in Resolution Run under Find a Race and then select the Marion, NC race.  The entry fee for the 5K is $30.  The 5K will be limited to the first 100 entrants.  Registration ends on Friday, December 30 at 8:00 p.m. All entrants will receive a shirt, medal, and glow bracelet.

Other activities at the New Year’s Eve Celebration will run from 9:00 p.m. until shortly after 12:00 Midnight and will include music, food, shopping and entertainment.  During the Celebration, Main Street will be closed between New and Henderson Streets.  The event is designed to be family friendly.  No alcohol will be permitted on public streets or sidewalks or public property.  The Marion Business Association (MBA) is encouraging downtown businesses to remain open during the Celebration.  The MBA anticipates that many restaurants, bars, and retail businesses will be open during the event, providing food and beverages for sale. Entertainment at private businesses is planned.  Specifically, Crabby Abby’s, And Justice for All, Mulligan Mack’s After Five, Mr. Bob’s Donuts, the Crooked Door Coffee House, Café Marion, the McDowell Arts Council, Shuck’s Pearls, Dazzling Divas and Killough’s Music will be open, with different entertainment, sales and promotions planned.

At 9:00 p.m., there will be story time for children in the theater at the McDowell Arts Council (MACA).  Children and families are invited to participate.  At 10:00 p.m., a costume parade and contest will take place in the MACA theater, with a $50 cash prize awarded to the winner in each of three categories: youth, teen and adult.  There is no cost for either the story time or costume contest.

DJ Doug McCraw will play music on the Courthouse lawn throughout the event, with plenty of room for dancing.  There will be line dancing and dance music at various times during the evening.  A scavenger hunt will also take place, with a $100 first prize and $50 second prize. Scavenger hunt forms will be available in the MACA building.  The scavenger hunt involves answering questions about Downtown businesses and is suitable for all ages.  There is no cost to enter the scavenger hunt.

This year, for the first time, there will be a beer and wine garden at the New Year’s Eve Celebration inside the Possibilities Day Program building at 81 South Main Street at the intersection of South Main and East Henderson Street.  South Creek Winery, Belle Nicho Winery and Catawba Brewing will sell beer, wine and snacks.  There will be live entertainment with Skiffle Creek playing in the Possibilities building.  The North Carolina Gold Foundation will have hot food, drinks and snacks for sale, a gold nugget raffle, games and videos in the Possibilities building.  Possibilities Day Program provides programs and activities for individuals with disabilities in a safe and fun environment.

Carriage rides around the Downtown area will also be available for a small charge.  The carriages will load and unload near the intersection of Main and Court Streets.  Carriage ride tickets can be purchases at that location.  The Marion Rotary Club will sell novelty items such as top hats, tiaras, noisemakers and glow sticks in front of the McDowell Arts Council.  Children will be able to enjoy miniature train rides with Mayor Steve Little for a small fee.  The train will load and unload near the Crooked Door Coffee House.

In addition, there will be more street vendors than ever selling hot food, such as pizza, popcorn, kettle corn, funnel cake, fried oreos, hot dogs, hamburgers, barbeque, hot chocolate, soft drinks and other items.  The Marion Rotary Club is inviting interested churches, non-profit groups, businesses and individuals to sell crafts or food and non-alcoholic drink items on Main Street during the New Year’s Eve Celebration.  A craft vendor space can be obtained for $10.00 and a food or beverage vendor space can be reserved for $20.00.  Please contact Bob Boyette at 652-3551 or Freddie Killough or Lou Godfrey at 652-2215 to register as a vendor.

At 12:00 Midnight, everyone will celebrate the New Year with the traditional dropping of a large replica of a gold nugget from a boom crane truck provided by McDowell Cement Products onto Main Street.  This year, a new metal gold nugget is being made for New Year’s Eve by Turtle Laboratories.  You will not want to miss seeing the brand new gold nugget, which is sure to be a major highlight of the evening.  The gold nugget is sponsored by the North Carolina Gold Foundation, Turtle Laboratories, McDowell Cement Products and Don Markum/Bathfitter.  Once again this year, the gold nugget will drop into a 10 foot giant donut made by Mr. Bob’s Donuts.  After the gold nugget drop, Mr. Bob will serve coffee and donuts to anyone who is interested.  There will also be a sparkler display on the Courthouse Lawn after the gold nugget drop, so the public is encouraged not to leave right at Midnight. 

The New Year’s Eve Celebration is being funded through contributions from the Marion Rotary Club, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce and the corporate sponsors listed above.  The City of Marion will provide staffing support for the event through its Police, Public Works and Fire Departments, with assistance from the Marion Business Association and McDowell County. The Marion Police Department, Marion Fire Department and McDowell County EMS will have personnel on hand during the Celebration and provide security and medical assistance for the event.

Please make plans to join the fun on Main Street on New Year’s Eve and invite family and friends to come out and enjoy a great evening.

For further information, please contact Marion Business Association Events Coordinator Lou Godfrey at 652-2215 or lougodfrey@frontier.com or City Manager Bob Boyette at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

 

Melodies on Main Set for Thursday Evening, December 1

Melodies on Main is set for Thursday, December 1 from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM on the Courthouse lawn on Main Street in Downtown Marion.  This always popular event sponsored by the Marion Business Association features Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus visiting with kids.  A free 4" X 6" photo of Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus with each child will be available at the WalMart Photo Center beginning on Monday, December 5 after the event. 

At Melodies on Main, children and adults can enjoy caroling, face painting and make a Christmas ornament.  There will be hay rides around the Downtown area and funnel cakes, kettle corn and hot cider will be available for purchase.  You can also visit the craft booths that will be set up on the Courthouse Lawn.  Back again this year is Letters to Santa.  Children can bring their letters to Santa and leave them in the Magic Mail Box for delivery.

Downtown merchants will be offering extended hours during Melodies on Main.  This is a great opportunity to complete your Christmas shopping.  Jewelry, furniture, gift items, candles, musical instruments, coffees, donuts, and custom,  hand crafted gifts are just a few of the shopping opportunities for your shopping pleasure.  One of the special features of the downtown Christmas shopping season is the Blue Ridge Artisans Show at the McDowell Arts Council on South Main Street.  The show features more than a dozen of McDowell County’s finest artisans.  This is the place to shop for one of-a-kind Christmas gifts!

Please make plans to bring the whole family to Downtown Marion on Thursday evening, December 1 for Melodies on Main.

For more information, please contact Lou Godfrey at the Marion Business Association at 828-652-2215 or visit Marion Events on Facebook. 

Marion Christmas Parade Set for Sunday, November 20

The 2016 Marion Christmas Parade is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., Sunday, November 20, 2016.  The event will kick-off Thanksgiving and Christmas activities for the City of Marion.  The parade is organized by the Marion Business Association and sponsored by the City of Marion.   

The theme for the parade is “A Blue Ridge Christmas”.  The Parade Marshal is R. Marshall Dark, Jr.  R. Marshall Dark, Jr. has spent most of his life devoted to promoting, protecting, and supporting McDowell County. In 1955 he joined McDowell Insurance Agency (now Morrow Insurance Agency – McDowell) and became a charter member of the McDowell Chamber of Commerce in 1957. Throughout Mr. Dark\\\'s 45 years as a successful business owner, he was an instrumental force in the Chamber, serving as president and helping to recruit Baxter Health Care to the area in 1970.  Mr. Dark is a past president of Marion Rotary Club, where he was a member for 60 years. 

Mr. Dark has provided leadership on many local boards such as McDowell Hospital, Bank of America, WNC Mountain Athletic Club, McDowell Technical College Foundation, McDowell Economic Development, and most recently on the McDowell Hospital Foundation Board responsible for the new state of the art facility now under construction.  Mr. Dark co-founded the McDowell Rescue Squad, and spent 20 years as a City of Marion volunteer firefighter, serving as Assistant Chief. 

Mr. Dark is currently active at Nebo Crossing Church and was elder, deacon and choir member for many years at First Presbyterian Church. He and his wife Barbara celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2015. They love spending time with their family including two children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

McDowell’s own award winning McDowell High School Marching Titan Band will be featured at the beginning of the parade. Hillcrest Marching Band from Asheville is expected to participate and is always a big hit.  

All parade float entries are required to be registered.  The registration number is to be displayed in the window of the parade entry, be fully decorated with a Christmas theme and have all passengers loaded when arriving for parade line-up. Deadline for registration is Thursday, November 17.  Any entry not registered with a number and decorated will be turned away at line-up.  Antique cars are not required to be decorated or pre-register.  Emergency vehicles with PA systems are encouraged to play Christmas music.  

No candy is allowed to the thrown from any vehicle or float.  Handouts by persons walking in the parade route are acceptable and encouraged.   

The Marion Business Association and the City of Marion will sponsor the only Santa Claus in the Christmas Parade.  No other Santa will be allowed in the parade. Churches may have only one bus/unit in the parade and it must be decorated.  

The Parade line-up begins at 1:30 PM in the parking lot of Rose’s.  All parade vehicles are to enter Robinson Road behind Rose’s and come into the parking lot.  Vehicles will then be entered into line-up.  Horses will line-up on Montevista Avenue. Horse trailers are to be taken to the Public Works Department behind the Hook & Anchor.  Horses will continue together as a unit to the Public Works Department on Rutherford Road.   All horses are to remain on Montevista Avenue until placed into the line-up.  No horses are allowed in the shopping center parking lot. 

The parade procession will begin at Montevista Avenue and North Main Street and will finish at Spring Street.  Walking units will enter the parade at the Community Building.  The parade is to stay together until it reaches Morgan Street and all entries are to go to the end of the parade route before disbanding. Children on floats can be picked up at the Hook & Anchor Restaurant on Rutherford Road. 

The Marion Business Association is still accepting entries for the Christmas Parade.  There is no charge for registration.  Please contact Lou Godfrey with the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215 to register to enter the Christmas Parade and to receive a registration number and a copy of the parade guidelines.  The City of Marion is the official sponsor of the Parade.

Historical Ghost Walk Downtown Marion Friday, October 28th, 2016

Join the McDowell Historical Society on an eerie journey into the City of Marion’s haunted past as you stroll down Main Street.  Stories and legends of the unusual and supernatural are combined with the fun and fascinating history of the City.  This event is being held to promote Marion’s local history and to support the downtown business community.

Tickets are $15.00 per person and tours are scheduled for specific time slots.  Times include 6:30pm, 7:00pm, 7:30pm, and 8:00pm.  Tickets can be purchased online through the Mountain Herb Salve website at http://www.mountainherbsalve.com/shop and select “Historical Ghost Walk of Marion” or place an order by phone at (828) 527-9098.  Children between the ages of 12 and 16 having a ticket are permitted on the tour only if accompanied by an adult.

Ticket holders are also invited to a Halloween party following the tour! The party will take place at the last stop on the tour where we will be investigating the ghostly events at the Depot Grille.  Those interested may choose to dress in costume and to purchase dinner or appetizers/drinks at this family-friendly establishment.  For more information about the event phone (828) 527-9098 or visit the McDowell County Historical Society Facebook page.  

Tailgate Market Fall Festival Scheduled for October 25

The Historic Marion Tailgate Market will hold its annual Fall Festival Day on Tuesday, October 25.  The event will feature Trick or Treating with downtown merchants from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Other fun activities will take place at the Tailgate Market Shelter on West Henderson Street until 5:00 p.m.  This is a fun event for the entire family, so get out your Halloween costumes and come out and enjoy the fun in Downtown Marion on October 25.

For more information, please contact Lou Godfrey at the Marion Business Association at 652-2215.

Plans Set for Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 8

The City of Marion will celebrate the arrival of autumn in the Blue Ridge with the annual Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 8, from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Main Street in Downtown Marion.  For 33 years, beautiful Downtown Marion has hosted this popular celebration on the 2nd Saturday in October near the peak of leaf season in Western North Carolina.  Each year, approximately 20,000 people attend Mountain Glory, making it one of the most popular festivals in Western North Caerolina.  This year, make plans to visit Marion on October 8 and enjoy the variety of food, shopping, fun and activities that the Mountain Glory Festival offers.  Admission to the Mountain Glory Festival is free.

As usual, the Mountain Glory Festival will feature over 140 food, craft and non-profit vendors spread out over three blocks of Main Street.  Visitors looking for original handicrafts will find plenty of choices for shopping, including locally made arts and crafts.  You can enjoy a great variety of festival foods and a wide array of live entertainment, focusing on old time mountain music.

You will not want to miss the annual Mountain Glory Quilt Show inside the McDowell Arts Council. The quilt show is the gallery's featured exhibit for October.  The mountain tradition of quilting is alive and well with dozens of quilts and quilted pieces on display.  The Quilt Show has been a beautiful and colorful addition to Mountain Glory Festival for many years and all quilts are one of a kind works of art.  There is no charge for the Qulit Show. You can also enjoy the McDowell Arts Council Art Gallery while visiting the Quilt Show. 

The kids will have fun in the Children's Area with hands-on activities, gem mining, the Monkey Bridge and a best-dressed pet contest.  There will also be inflatables for children on Main Street near the northern end of the Festival area. 

New for the 2016 Mountain Glory Festival is a Beer and Wine Garden.  Beer and wine will be available for purchase by glass or bottle between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for those 21 years of age and older in the Beer and Wine Garden, located next to State Farm Insurance on Main Street,  ID is required to enter the Beer and Wine Garden.  The beer and wine will be provided by local and regional breweries and wineries.

Also new for the 2016 Mountain Glory Festival is a phone app from UGo Tours,

This year's Mountain Glory Festival includes a free shuttle service. This transportation service will run approximately every 15 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. between the McDowell Senior Center and a point located near Kirksey Funeral Home on Fort Street next to the Festival area. The transportation service is provided courtesy of the McDowell County Department of Social Services.

The Mountain Glory Festival is sponsored by the City of Marion and coordinated by the Marion Business Association, with numerous businesses also serving as sponsors.  This year's Festival sponsors include the McDowell Hospital, McDowell Technical Community College, the McDowell News, Jim Cook Chevrolet Buick GMC, Catawba Valley Staffing, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Savings Bank, Hunter's Livermush, Pepsi, McDowell Cornerstone Credit Union, McDowell County Farm Bureau, U.S. Cellular, H. Russell Neighbors, Attorney at Law, Tom Johnson Camping World, Mountain Area Community Services, Marion D.D.S. Family Dentistry, Killough's Music & Loan, Appalachian Trading Post, Frontier Communications and Westmoreland Funeral Home & Crematory. 

Please make plans to come to Downtown Marion on Saturday, October 8 for the Mountain Glory Festival.  You'll be glad you did!

For more information about the Mountain Glory Festival, please call the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215, e-mail info@mtngloryfestival.com or visit www.mtngloryfestival.com. To find additional area events, attractions and lodging information, you can visit www.blueridgetravelers.com or call toll free (888-233-6111) to receive a free visitor guide and map. 

City of Marion to Host a Free Fair Housing Seminar

The City of Marion will host a free Fair Housing Seminar on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm at the Marion Community Building located at 191 North Main Street, Marion, NC, 28752.  There will also be time after the presentation to speak to a fair housing specialist to ask questions or obtain additional information about fair housing.  The Seminar is open to the public and is tailored to property managers, housing providers, real estate professionals, housing advocates, care providers, and anyone interested in knowing their housing rights.  Space is limited to 150, and RSVP is not required but is strongly encouraged to reserve your seat.

What is Fair Housing?  The Fair Housing Act is a federal act intended to protect a buyer or renter of a dwelling from either seller or landlord discrimination.  The Act makes it illegal for anyone to discriminate in any public or private residential real estate transaction, including buying, selling, renting, financing, or advertising a residential property.   

A new federal rule under the Fair Housing Act was recently enacted clarifying the rights of tenants and the responsibilities of housing providers.  The rule clarifies and simplifies existing fair housing obligations and creates a streamlined process for evaluating fair housing within a community.  The seminar will provide information on the Fair Housing Act; how the new rule impacts housing providers, and the rights of those seeking housing including how to file a discrimination complaint in North Carolina.

Mr. Philip Jordan, Interim Executive Director and Program Manager with the North Carolina Human Relations Commission will be the guest speaker for this free seminar.  The NC Human Relations Commission is responsible for providing services and programs aimed at improving relationships among all citizens of the state, while seeking to ensure equal opportunities in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, recreation, education, justice, and governmental services. 

The program will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn about the following topics:

  • The N.C. Human Relations Commission’s Overview and Mission
  • The Definition of Housing Discrimination
  • The Definitions of Protected and Non-Protected Classes
  • The Laws that Prohibit Discrimination
  • Examples of Discriminatory Housing Practices
  • Reasons for Complaints
  • Legal Practices

To RSVP or to obtain more information, please contact Heather Cotton, City of Marion Planning and Development Director at (828) 652-3551 or via email at hcotton@marionnc.org.  You can also RSVP for the seminar at www.marionncfairhousing.eventbrite.com.

City of Marion Announces Downtown Business Exterior Grants Program

The City of Marion was recently awarded a $94,340 Downtown Revitalization Grant by the State.  As part of this grant award, the City Council has authorized that $10,000 be used for a Downtown Business Exterior Grants Program.  Under this program, the City will fund 20 grants in the amount of up to $500 for businesses in the designated Downtown area to make exterior improvements.  This is a 100 percent grant, up to the maximum amount of $500, with no investment required by the business. 

Examples of possible projects could be the installation of speakers to play music on the sidewalk, the purchase of benches, the installation of signs or awnings and window and door replacements. 

The City is now accepting applications from Downtown businesses for this program.  If a business has not directly received a grant application, they may contact City Manager Bob Boyette at City Hall at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org or find the application at the following link: http://marionnc.org/Marion/uploads//Economic%20Development/Downtown%20Business%20Exterior%20Improvements%20Grant.pdf.

While this particular grant is limited to $500, businesses may also wish to consider participating in other City and State programs.  Information about these programs can be found at the following link: http://marionnc.org/Marion/uploads/Economic%20Development/Economic%20Development%20Resources.pdf.

Applications for the Downtown Business Exterior Grants Program are due at City Hall by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.  The City has attempted to keep the grant application simple, with only minimal information, two cost estimates and photos required.  Upon approval of the grant application, a business may begin the project.  To comply with the State’s rules for this program, projects must be completed and final invoices and photos submitted to the City by March 1, 2017. 

While only one grant will initially be given to any particular business, if there are not a sufficient number of qualifying grant applications received by the October 26 deadline, a second round of funding may be opened, in which case a business receiving funding in the first round could apply again.

The application form provides additional information and regulations for the grant program.

The City urges Downtown business to consider applying for the Downtown Business Exterior Improvements Grant Program. 

For additional information, please contact City Manager Bob Boyette at City Hall at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

Community Building Park Splash Pad to Close for Season on October 9

The City of Marion has announced that the Community Building Park Splash Pad will close for the season on Sunday, October 9.  The Splash Pad will reopen in Spring 2017.

For further information, please contact the Public Works Department at 652-4224.

City of Marion Receives Downtown Revitalization Grant from State

The City of Marion was one of 53 cities in North Carolina selected by the General Assembly in the 2016-17 State Budget to receive a Downtown Revitalization Grant of $94,340.  On August 8, the City received a letter from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, stating that a proposal regarding how the City plans to spend the money must be submitted by September 1.  The funds can be spent on capital projects, infrastructure, planning, building improvements, property acquisition, etc. in the City’s defined Downtown area, but cannot be used for salary or operations.  

The City Council obtained input from the Marion Business Association Board of Directors, downtown business and property owners and City staff regarding how the money should be invested.  A total of 30 ideas for the use of the Downtown Revitalization Grant were proposed. 

The City Council held special meetings on August 23 and 30 and endorsed the following possible projects for the Downtown Revitalization Grant Program:  

1.  Business Grant - $10,000

2.  Building Painting/Repairs - $5,000

3.  Restrooms at Farmer’s Market - $30,800

4.  Restrooms/Shelter at Gazebo - $36,900

5.  Sidewalk/Parking Improvements - $25,000

6.  Stage for Events - $20,000 

The items listed above total $127,700, which exceeds the available amount of State funding.  These projects were submitted by the City to the North Carolina Department of Commerce on September 1 for consideration.  Upon the anticipated approval of all of the items listed above, which will likely take place by the end of September, the City Council can select which projects the City will implement. 

The grant funds will need to be spent by March 2017, with a project report detailing how the funds were spent sent by the City to the North Carolina Department of Commerce by March 31, 2017. 

The City thanks the Marion Business Association Board and staff, downtown business and property owners and City staff for their assistance with identifying potential uses for the Downtown Revitalization funding. 

For further information about the Downtown Revitalization Funding, please contact City Manager Bob Boyette at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

Community Building Park Tennis Courts to Host McDowell High School Women's Tennis Matches

The Marion Community Building Park tennis courts will host McDowell High School Women’s Tennis home matches during the Fall 2016 season.  A total of five home tennis matches have been scheduled, as follows:

Thursday, September 15

Tuesday, September 20

Tuesday, September 27

Thursday, September 29

Tuesday, October 4

It is possible that additional matches could be scheduled or matches could be rescheduled due to inclement weather.

On the listed dates for the matches, the Community Building Park tennis courts will be closed to the public, beginning at 3:00 p.m. until matches conclude, perhaps at 8:00 p.m. or later.

For more information about the Community Building tennis courts, please contact the Public Works Department at 652-4224 or City Manager Bob Boyette at 652-3551.  For information about the tennis matches, please contact McDowell High School Athletic Director Neil Brackett at 652-7920.  

City of Marion Holds Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of Improved Peavine Trail

The Marion City Council held a ribbon cutting and grand opening for the recently improved Peavine Trail on Friday, July 29 at 4:00 p.m.  The ribbon cutting took place at the trailhead on the State Street side of the Peavine Trail. An enthusiastic group of about 30 people participated in the ribbon cutting.

The City recently used a $4,500 donation from the McDowell Trails Association and City funds to install a new surface on the Peavine Trail.  The new surface is composed of fine gravel and sand and provides for a better surface on which to walk, run, or bike. 

In 2010, the City of Marion acquired from Norfolk Southern Railway 33 acres of the old Peavine Rail Line right of way from State Street to just south of Jacktown Road, a distance of about 2.4 miles.  The trail currently extends for 1.5 miles from State Street to the trestle located behind Mi Pueblito Restaurant on Rutherford Road.  Barricades have been installed at both ends of this trestle, until such time as the trestle can be demolished or repaired, which will eventually allow the trail length to extend to the full 2.4 mile length.  The City is now seeking funding for a structural evaluation of the trestle. 

The public is invited to visit the Peavine Trail during daylight hours to enjoy a pleasant walk, run or bike ride and beautiful scenery.

For further information about the Peavine Trail, please contact Planning and Development Director Heather Cotton at 828-652-3551 or hcotton@marionnc.org or City Manager Bob Boyette at 828-652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

Marion Receives Accreditation from National Main Street Program

The City of Marion has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach®. A total of 44 communities in North Carolina received accreditation this year.

"Vibrant downtowns are important economic engines for the North Carolina economy," said North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III. "This national recognition confirms the results we're seeing every day in these forward-thinking communities and is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our Main Street program participants."

"Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year's nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work," says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America's cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distrinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country."

The performance standards set the benchmark for measuring a community's application of the Main Street Four Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization. Standards include fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

"Each year, our Center's staff evaluates each of the state's designated Main Street organizations to identify those programs that met the National Main Street Center's ten performance standards for the previous twelve-month calendar year. 69% of all North Carolina Main Street communities achieved national accreditation in 2016 and that represents 14% more communities that have worked over the last year to incorporate best practices in their Main Street operations," said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center.

Established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. Working in more than 2,000 downtowns and urban neighborhoods over the last 36 years, the Main Street Program has leveraged more than $65.6 billion in new public and private investment. Participating communities have created over 556,000 net new jobs and rehabilitated 260,000, leveraging significant private investment for every dollar spent on their Main Street district revitalization efforts.

Marion's Main Street Program, administered by the Marion Business Association, met the listed criteria and qualified for recnognition. Only about 8 percent of North Carolina municipalities have a nationally accredited Main Street Program.

For more information, please contact Marion Business Association Executive Director Freddie Killough at (828) 652-2215.

Beach Bash Scheduled for August 19

The final concert of the 2016 Downtown Marion Concert Series will take place on Friday, August 19, from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Marion Tailgate Market at 67 West Henderson Street in Downtown Marion. The August 19 concert is the always popular Beach Bash, which this year will feature Shake Down from Taylorsville, North Carolina.

Shake Down is a six-piece variety band. Combining a mixture of both “past” and “present” in both talent and music, they perform a wide variety of music including beach, shag, rock‘n‘roll, funk, motown, country, and top 40. Shake Down is the perfect group for any festival, wedding, corporate event, dance club, or any other venue.

Come out to the Tailgate Market Shelter, bring your lawn chair and enjoy a great evening of music with some of our region‘ s finest musicians!

This concert is coordinated by the Marion Business Association. 

For more information follow Marion Events on Facebook or contact Lou Godfrey at 652-2215.

Public Comment Sought for City of Marion's New Parks and Recreation Plan

The City of Marion Planning and Development Services Department is preparing to update its Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan.  This update will replace the 2006 Parks and Recreation Master Plan. It will focus on existing park facilities operated and maintained by the City of Marion, and identify opportunities for future parks and recreation enhancements. The purpose of the plan is to provide guidance and direction for making informed decisions about parks and recreation facilities and services over the next ten years.

A number of meetings and public outreach efforts are scheduled to discuss the future of Marion's Parks and Recreation facilities. The community is invited and encouraged to attend any of these meetings or events to learn more about the City’s Parks and Recreation facilities and provide comments on future projects and programs. The first community meeting will held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12th at Marion City Hall located at 194 North Main Street in Marion. An information booth will also be set up at the July 4th Celebration in downtown Marion to distribute information about the Plan update and answer questions. We encourage citizens to ask questions, submit ideas, and make recommendations about the future of Marion's urban park system, open spaces, and recreational services at both of these events.

In addition to these events, the City has developed a survey to better understand the level of interest and community support for recreational programs.  The survey is a short ten question survey, and should take only a few minutes to complete.   The online survey can be accessed by visiting our website at www.marionnc.org/parksupdate.org, or you can pick up a paper copy of the survey at Marion City Hall, McDowell County Library Marion Branch, McDowell County Chamber of Commerce, McDowell Health Department, McDowell County DSS, or Corpening Memorial YMCA. Each location will have a survey drop box or you can deliver it to Marion City Hall located at 194 North Main Street in downtown Marion, or mail it to City of Marion, PO Drawer 700, Marion, N.C. 28752.  The survey will be available and accepted through Thursday, July 28, 2016.

For more information about the City of Marion Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan please contact Rosa Fowler at (828) 652-3551 or via email rfowler@marionnc.org.

City of Marion Recognized as 2016 Playful City USA Community

The City of Marion is being honored with a 2016 Playful City USA designation for the fourth year in a row. Marion is one of 13 communities across North Carolina municipalities and one of 257 nationally to receive the Playful City USA designation. Only five other communities in North Carolina have been Playful City USA communities for longer than Marion.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the national recognition program honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable. Communities across the country are creating innovative ways to bring back play and attract residents through family friendly activities. Interactive sidewalk art, designated play spaces on trails and the transformation of schoolyards into active play areas are just a few examples of how cities are becoming more playful.

“We are thrilled to recognize these communities that have invested their time and efforts to put kids first,” said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. “Balanced and active play is crucial to the well-being of kids and the communities that they thrive in.  By integrating play into cities, the leaders of Playful Cities USA are working to attract and retain the thousands of families that want homes in close proximity to safe places to play.”

To learn more about these cities, see the full list of the 257 communities named 2016 Playful City USA honorees, or to gather more information on the Playful City USA program, visit www.playfulcityusa.org. We also encourage you to take part in the conversation on #playability with these thought leaders on Twitter and Facebook. 

For more information, please contact Planning and Development Director Heather Cotton at (828) 652-3551 or hcotton@marionnc.org.